Learn everything you need to know about California car insurance below.
Minimum Insurance Requirement in California
The car insurance requirements in California mandate the following coverages.
- $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
- $5,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident1
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If you’re caught driving without insurance in California, you may face the following penalties:
- First conviction: $100 to $200 fine, plus penalty assessments, possible vehicle impoundment
- Subsequent convictions within three years: $200 to $500, fine plus penalty assessments, possible vehicle impoundment2
If you’re involved in an accident without having insurance or proof of insurance, the state will suspend your driving privileges for one year. However, during this time, you may be able to get a restricted license, allowing you to drive under the following circumstances:
- To and from your place of employment
- In the course of your primary employment, when it’s necessary
- While transporting a dependent minor in your immediate family to their primary or secondary institution, if there are no other transportation options available
To get your license reinstated following a suspension, you’ll need to pay a $250 fee and maintain a California SR-22 for three years.
California is an at-fault state, meaning that in an accident, the at-fault driver is financially responsible for the other party’s bodily injuries and property damages. Accident victims can sue the other party in a civil suit, regardless of their own level of negligence and even if they hold the majority of the fault.
More Laws to Know
- Credit score: California is one of four states that doesn’t allow insurance companies to base pricing on credit score. That means if you have bad credit, all other things being equal, you should see the same rates as someone with good credit.3
- Gender: Similarly, insurers can’t take gender into account when it comes to auto insurance pricing, so men and women should have similar rates as well.
- Self-insurance: Looking for alternative types of financial responsibility? If you don’t want to buy insurance from a third party, you can self-insure to the tune of $35,000, either in the form of a cash deposit with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a surety bond with a California-licensed company.